Memorial to the Eight – יד השמונה
Yad Hashmona means Memorial to the Eight. The name was given by the founding settlers, a group of Bible believing Protestant pioneers from Finland in memory of eight Jewish refugees, who escaped in 1938 from Austria to Finland, and who were surrendered by the Finns to the Gestapo in November 1942. It was a time when the Finnish government collaborated with Nazi Germany in opposition to the Soviet Union, in an attempt to recover the Karelia region – which Stalin had ‘stolen’ from the Finns in the “Winter War” of 1939/40.
The moshav shitufi (small collective village) was registered in 1971. Three years later they moved to the site in the Judaean mountains, near Jerusalem, to begin building and developing the stony area. Later on, Messianic Jews joined the Finnish founders. The moshav has become a center of Messianic Jews in Israel.
This unique Biblical Village, planted on the hillside replicates agriculture in ancient times, was inaugurated in the year 2000 and was established with the assistance of the Swiss Beth Shalom society and the Israeli Antiquities Authority. The Biblical Village on the slope of Yad HaShmonah provides visitors with hands-on exposure to the manners and customs of the ancient Israelites. The garden includes olive trees and press, grape vines and several winepresses, wheat field and threshing floor, watchtower, Bedouin tents, ancient Galilean synagogue, and a burial cave. All have been constructed according to the best archaeological knowledge of ancient life.
The Yad Hashmona Hotel is found on the moshav. The guest houses are constructed of Finnish Pine, lending a unique look among the typically stone buildings in Israel. The rooms have balconies or porches overlooking the beautiful Judean hills. Snow is not common in this area, but a good snowfall will occur once every two or three years.